Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri announced he will introduce a bill to ban “manipulative” online game features. The Republican calls his bill the “Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act”. The bill will prohibit games marketed towards children from adding features that require money for advancing or receiving random rewards. These features being “Loot Boxes” and “Pay to win” in the video games industry. Additionally, the bill gives the Federal Trade Commission the power of enforcement of the ban. Furthermore, it gives state attorney generals to files lawsuits against companies who violate the ban.
The 2018 mid-term season is in full swing, and Missouri’s senate race is heating up. Republican attorney general Josh Hawley defeated Austin Petersen, among others, in the August 7th primary. Since then, he has been in a tight battle with incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Too Close to Call, so Far
Recent polling suggests that the race is one of the closest in the country. Real Clear Politics lists a number of polls between the two, in which Hawley recently averages a slim 0.6 point lead. This, of course, is well within the standard margin of error, which is between two and five points. RCP also ranks Missouri’s race as one of only nine toss-ups in the country.
Given this knowledge, it is unsurprising that Hawley is seeking out ways to distinguish himself from McCaskill. However, he is quite unwise in the means that he selects. This Monday, the attorney announced his intents to create a bill that, if passed, would effectively become the second largest minimum wage increase in United States history.
The “Work Credit” Minimum Wage Hike
Interestingly, Hawley is not directly calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage. Instead, he desires a “work credit” for all those making less than the median wage. Specifically, the credit would take their wages and bring them 50% closer to the median. The very nature of this plan is a disaster waiting to happen.
As of May 2017, the median wage was $18.12 for hourly workers in America. In the same year, 80.4 million workers were earning an hourly wage, which amounts to a little bit under three-fifths of the total working population. Of these workers, only about 542,000 were earning the minimum wage itself.
That was How Much Again?
At the current $7.25 federal minimum wage, a worker would be compensated with an amount that brings them halfway to the median. In this case, they would receive a total paycheck of $12.69, where $7.25 comes from the employer, and the other $5.44 comes from the state. This means that in occupations without tips or other compensations, the lowest anyone could possibly legally receive is $12.69 for an hour of work. This is a 75% increase in the overall minimum wage. The only time that the government raised it by a greater percent was from $0.40 to $0.75 an hour (87.5%) in 1950, following the negative inflationary effects of high amounts of war spending.
If the median wage was $18.12, then it would necessarily follow that 40.2 million workers earned less than that amount, or that amount exactly. For the sake of simplicity, let us assume that the proportion of workers at all levels, from $7.25 all the way up to the median of $18.12, is equal. Of course, this is not going to be exact and may vary in one in direction or the other. Yet, the failure to estimate here would yield a calculation that is hundreds of pages long and nearly impossible to finish, as it would then have to account for every specific worker in the United States.
The Economic Burden
A simple average suggests that the typical wage worker in the bottom half makes about $12.69 an hour. Again, some variation may exist, but such variations are nearly impossible to find precisely. Hawley’s plan would take this wage and bring it halfway to the median. So, a bottom-half worker making an average of $12.69 would see a bonus of $2.71 per hour. This means that the worker’s total average earning will amount to $15.40 an hour: $12.69 from the employer, and $2.71 from the government.
Now, $2.71 may seem like a pretty small number, and on the face, it is. However, this number is not a one-time payment and must go out, under Hawley’s plan, to every worker in the country making less than the median. Some, depending on where they fell, would get more of a bonus, and some would get less of a bonus. But just how much of a burden would this be on the American people, including the lower-class workers?
Given a 40 hour work week, and 50 weeks worked per year, the numbers are staggering. In a single day, each of these workers would receive a check for, on average, $21.68 per day. In a week, the number increases to $108.40, and in a year the costs to pay a single worker would average out to $5,240.
A Massive Expenditure
Multiplying the figure times the number of workers earning below the median wage reveals the sheer horror of the plan. With 40.2 million workers receiving an average of this amount, Hawley would create an additional $217.8 billion in expenditures. This is equal to an immediate 5.3% increase in federal spending and would add over $2 trillion in debt in two years. The program is over four times more expensive than Trump’s massive military spending increase in the 2018 budget. It also happens to be more than the military spending of China and Russia combined in 2017.
Money Isn’t Free, Mr. Hawley
Hawley risks serious economic problems if he continues to add more to the national debt. Though the Republican Party has long since abandoned fiscal conservatism with few exceptions, this idea threatens the very nature of fiscal conservatism as a whole. It is entirely possible that rather than increasing the national debt, Hawley may instead propose to increase taxes. If he balances the plan, then he would need to raise $217.8 billion dollars annually. However, the money does not come from thin air, though the U.S. Treasury may suggest otherwise.
Currently, there are 138.1 million active workers in the United States. Most likely, they would bear the brunt of this fiscal burden. If divided equally, them each taxpayer, including the lower income earners, would owe $1,577 at the end of the year. So, of their great gift, the working poor would instantly pay 30% to the state.
This, of course, is a bare minimum. Realistically, that rate would be much higher, because the government does not operate at 100% efficiency. To collect, manage, and distribute the money, they would need to collect, manage, and distribute even more. Government efficiency is low, and even at two-thirds efficiency, that rate increases to 40% from 30%. This tax rate on their bonus is actually much higher than what they already pay on their current incomes, which varies from 10 to 12 percent.
May it be Even More Dangerous?
Moreover, it is unclear whether Hawley supports this idea for salaried workers. In his op-ed, he merely states that all workers below the median should get a significant pay raise. If Hawley implemented the same thing for salaried workers, who generally earn more money per year, he would be facing an even greater economic crisis. As the debt counter reaches for the sky, more debt is not the answer.
Unfortunately, this is not where Hawley’s ineptitude stops. Last week, he actually said that not only should below-median workers see pay raises, but every worker in America. Though he emphasized helping the poor, he did not exclude a single American worker. If he follows through on this, then the state will be handing checks to millionaires. It is immoral and coercive to tax the country to aid the poor. But it is morbidly wrong to tax the country to aid the rich.
Though Hawley fails to state where this money will come from, the options are increased taxes or increased debt. The country can currently afford neither, as debt shoots past 75% of GDP. Hawley’s plan will take an already volatile economy and make it much worse.
Taking, Giving, and Taking Again
Rather than increasing taxes more, Hawley should be focusing on why the people are poor in the first place. The fact of the matter is, minimum wage workers are not taking home $7.25 an hour. Subject to a 12% tax rate if they work full time, that figure drops to $6.38. Hawley identifies the problem that the poor do not have enough money to live comfortably. Where he fails is the solution. When the government is taking money from the people, the solution is not to give the people money back, just to take another 30% of it.
Let’s look at some of the numbers again, with the same $12.69. In the 12 percent income tax bracket, that average worker only takes home $11.26 while the government collects $1.43. They then see a bonus of $2.71 come their way in the form of Hawley’s plan. But, in the end, the government needs to take 30% of it to cover the costs. As a result, the worker hands over another $0.81 in income tax hikes.
This, of course, does not factor in the efficiency, so there goes another $0.27. All in all, that’s $1.08 gone from the $2.71. And, they already lost $1.43 from the initial income tax. Altogether, the state would take $2.51 from the average worker per hour, just to give them back $2.71 an hour and call it an act of generosity. I hate to break it to you, Hawley, but a net of $0.20 per hour is not an act of generosity, nor is it even a significant figure.
A Great Big Immorality
It is wrong to take money from individuals for any purpose. However, even when you ignore this moral principle, a scathing immorality remains. This program would, if it was lucky, give a tiny bit more than the government would need to take. The complex system of giving and taking only makes life harder for Americans on tax day and grocery day, too.
Of all tax and wage ideas out there, this is perhaps one of the worst. It expands government massively, so much that they would likely need a new agency to administer the program. At the very least, it would swell the Department of Labor’s budget. In either sense, it is unfit to exist. Taking money from the people, wasting it, and giving about the same amount back is not unlike breaking your neighbor’s arm, and then paying his medical bills and sending him a batch of cookies while you caringly help him recover. No amount of alleged kindness can take away from this great wrongdoing.
A Proposal for Prosperity
Thankfully for working-class America, there exist a number of much more successful plans to put more money in their pockets. But sadly for working-class America, few politicians, least of all Hawley, are talking about it. Ultimately, though, one point sticks out in particular as a method of surefire success.
It is time to at once abolish the income tax on poor Americans. Just as a cigarette tax is a deterrent to smoking, an income tax is a deterrent to working. When those who struggle so much to get by cannot keep what they earn, it makes survival and comfort both that much harder. If lower-half Americans had that average of $1.43 an hour back in their pockets, they would have much more social mobility. With an extra $2,860 a year at a forty-hour week, the possibilities are endless.
By freeing up that extra income, these individuals can begin to buy things that are lower on their priority lists but still very important. For example, there may no longer be a decision between hot water and a child’s birthday present, or healthy food and a good education. If a family budgets well and has all of these, maybe they can start to save, and truly move up the economic ladder for the first time.
Manageable Economic Costs
Of course, when taxes decrease, spending must also decrease in order to balance the program out. Unlike Hawley’s plan, however, this one has a real solution in order to create balance. By eliminating the income tax for those earning less than the median hourly wage, the government would lose $115 billion in annual revenue. But this is only slightly over half of the burden of Hawley’s plan. And, it gives working-class Americans an average of over seven times more additional money than Hawley’s ($1.43 vs $0.20).
Hawley, in his editorial, does not in any way suggest how he plans to pay for the program. This plan, however, accompanies necessary and easy cuts in federal spending. In a 2017 report, Senator James Lankford asserted that the federal government wasted $473 billion that year. Surely, different members of the Senate would contest that some of the spendings were necessary, or at the very least, not known at the time to be an eventual waste.
Common Sense Budget Cuts
Waste spending will always exist. However, eliminating just 10% of this waste covers $47.3 billion of the total costs. Removing the unnecessary $52 billion increase in military spending yields $99.3 billion saved. Further, it is feasible to remove the $4.4 billion increase to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and $2.8 billion increase to the Department of Homeland Security, as well as eliminate the TSA’s entire $7.6 billion dollar budget within the DHS’s remaining funds.
This totals $114.1 billion, which is only $900 million short of the cost of removing the working class income tax. The remaining money, naturally, comes from the Internal Revenue Service. Considering they are handling almost 30% fewer clients, they surely could survive after a less than 10% budget cut. Taking away just $1 billion of their $11.5 billion in expenditures yields a net savings of $100 million. At the same time, working-class Americans will be saving money. By eliminating more waste, that positive figure can reach even higher.
American Fiscal Success is at Stake
Without a doubt, Josh Hawley’s plan is destined to grow government while hurting the working class. Moreover, it may even give taxpayer money directly to the wealthy, based on one statement. At the very least, it cripples the working class and then acts as a gift.
Eliminating the income tax for these Americans, however, keeps their money in their pockets. It boosts the economy, as they will have more disposable income. It also gives them seven times more than the work credit plan. Surely, American fiscal success rests on the backs of the workers, and it is time to stop crippling them and start allowing them to reach never-before-seen levels of success.
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By Kenneth Casey | Missouri
Based on reported results for the Missouri U.S. Senate Republican Primary, 71 Republic can safely announce that Josh Hawley has secured enough votes to become the Republican nominee to take on Claire McCaskill in November. As of 9:00 EST, he has 58.6% of the vote compared to Austin Petersen’s 7.7% and Tony Monetti’s 10%, with the rest of the field garnering 23.7% of the vote.
Hawley has long been the favorite to win the primary, as he has by far the most money raised among all the candidates and has the support of the Republican establishment. Austin Petersen and Tony Monetti, Hawley’s two main primary challengers, had to rely on grassroots support against the big-money-backed Hawley.
Hawley will be taking on Claire McCaskill in the general election, and it’ll most certainly be one of the most watched races this midterm in the battle between the Democrats and Republicans over control of the Senate. Most polls between the two have them neck-and-neck, so expect a lot of money to be put into this race from both sides in the coming months.
To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.
9:00 EST: 71 Republic has called the primary for Hawley.
8:56 EST: A lot of the vote just came in. With 6% of the vote in, Hawley still has a big lead with 59% of the vote with Monetti at 10% of the vote and Petersen at 7.3% of the vote.
8:42 EST: With 4,452 votes in, Josh Hawley still has a significant lead with 56.5% of the vote with Tony Monetti at 9.3% and Austin Petersen at 9.2%. The other several candidates make up 25.1% of the vote. Long ways to go still, but looking good for Hawley.
8:24 EST: With first results coming in, Josh Hawley is on top with 56% of the vote, with Tony Monetti having 11.1%, Kristi Nichols having 9.3% of the vote and Austin Petersen receiving 6.7% so far. Only 1,478 votes are in so far, however, so you still have a while to go.
7:49 EST: Results are scheduled to start coming in at 8:30 EST. Stay tuned for updates.
Tonight is the night of the primaries for the Senate race in Missouri to determine who’ll be the Republican and Democratic nominees in November. Incumbent Claire McCaskill is expected to get re-elected, but the Republicans may put up a worthwhile fight. So we will be watching the Republican primaries The two main candidates are Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and Austin Petersen. We’ll be updating results onto this page as they come in. Polls close at 8 PM EST, the first results are expected at 8:30 PM EST.
Petersen is one of the most visible libertarian voices running for office this election cycle, as his campaign has pushed for and championed many causes libertarians have long fought for such as an audit of the Federal Reserve, Criminal Justice Reform, an adoption of a non-interventionist Foreign Policy, cutting spending and taxes, protecting cryptocurrency from government regulation (which lead him to receive the biggest Bitcoin donation in American campaign history), championing strong 2nd amendment rights (and even gave away 2 AR-15s and a 3-D printed gun), and much, much more.
Although Petersen has strong grassroots support, the odds are against him, as the Republican establishment and Mitch McConnell wing of the GOP did everything in their power to ensure that Josh Hawley was the nominee representing the Republican Party in November. The Missouri GOP even decided to spend money on Hawley’s campaign before he became the official nominee instead of waiting for the Missouri voters to make their decision on who they wanted the nominee to be.
By Drew Zirkle | United States
With midterms fast approaching, Democrats are beginning to target specific races in the hopes that they will win back the seat advantage in the Senate. Currently, the GOP holds a slim majority of 51 to 49, but that majority is far from secure. The Democratic Party, which hasn’t held a majority of Senate seats in over 3 years, is making a valiant effort to retake enough seats to put them back in control. Coalitions of establishment voters, progressive voters, and young people all over the country are looking to catapult fresh faces past GOP incumbents as well as secure weak incumbents against GOP advances.
As we get closer to November 6th, key races that will be necessary victories if the Democrats are to win back the Senate majority are beginning to emerge. Along with the exorbitant amount of data and factors to consider when determining the performance of Democrats, these five Senate races will stand out as indicators of whether the balance of power will shift in Washington after the midterm elections.
#1. Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) V. Sen. Dean Heller (R), Nevada:
Jacky Rosen is relatively new face both Nevada and National politics, however, her candidacy is proving to be a powerful force that her opponent, incumbent Dean Heller, is struggling to contain. Jacky began her career in politics in 2016 after then-Senate majority leader Harry Reid asked her to run for Nevada’s 3rd congressional district, a congressional district that encompasses the area South of Las Vegas. Despite being a newcomer to politics, she beat career politician and familiar GOP candidate Danny Tarkanian in a very close race.
Although the race was close, it was still a great victory for the Democrats, as the NV-3 district had only been in control of the Democrats for 2 years since the year 2000. Rosen then decided to throw her hat into the ring for the 2018 Senate race, and to her benefit, no other major Democrat’s opposed her. After mopping up a field of weak primary candidates in June, Rosen has put all her energy into building a robust campaign to unseat the incumbent, Dean Heller. Behind Rosen’s robust campaign is a strong foundation of political capital in the form of endorsements, which she got from key figures like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Despite having only two years of political experience, Rosen has the appearance of a seasoned politician despite being a fresh face in Nevada politics.
Nevada Senate races are especially unique, as only 2 counties reliably get over 150k voters while the rest get less than 30k. Those two counties, Clark and Washoe counties, are the keys to the Senate seat. Although Clark county almost always has a Democratic majority because of the presence of Las Vegas, Rosen must secure a large margin in that county to ensure victory. Luckily, Rosen already has a wealth of political connections in the county because her current house district, NV-3, is located within Clark County. In order to be successful, Rosen must get at least a 10% margin of victory in Clark County.
In 2012, the unsuccessful challenger against Heller only had a 9% margin of victory in Clark County, compared to the successful Democratic candidate in 2016, who had an 11% margin of victory the county. Although a 2% difference in one county doesn’t sound like a lot, that 2% figure will represent nearly 15,000 voters, a number which could mean the difference between victory and defeat. Rosen will also have to outperform her 2012 counterpart in Washoe county to achieve a victory. In 2012, Heller had a near 10% margin of victory in Washoe County. Rosen will have to limit her margin of loss to at least 3-5% in order to win the race.
The power behind the Rosen campaign has the Nevada GOP and the Heller camp sweating bullets. Recent scientific polling is looking favorable for Jacky Rosen and although she currently has the advantage, further polling could even bring her outside of the margin of error. As long as Rosen doesn’t underperform in key areas, she becomes the kingpin Democrats need in their crusade for dominance in the Senate.
Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) Chance of Victory – 70%
#2. Sen. Claire McCaskill V. At. Gen. Josh Hawley, Missouri*
*(Missouri Primary elections are on August 7th)
Senator Claire McCaskill is an outlier. She is a two-term Democratic Senator in a state that is reliably Republican in Presidential elections as well as most state offices. McCaskill has had a long career in politics, with her involvement in state and local politics beginning in 1982 in the Missouri statehouse. She began to rise through the ranks in state politics until 2004, where she made a competitive but ultimately unsuccessful run for Governor. She tested her luck again statewide in 2006, but this time, for a Senate seat. She successfully unseated incumbent Jim Talent (R) with just under 50% of the vote and then in 2012, won a second term with a 55% share. McCaskill has been able to walk a very thin line of moderate policies to keep the support of mostly-red Missouri, however, it appears as though her luck may be running out.
Her opponent, Missouri state AG Josh Hawley, is a young face in the Republican party and has received a lot of support from national figures, such as President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Although Hawley is a strong candidate, he has flaws too. Hawley has been criticized for being a “ladder candidate” and is still embroiled in a primary battle with GOP underdog Austin Petersen. McCaskill is going to need every ounce of her experience and grit if she is going to keep this state blue, however, if the past is any indicator, McCaskill is sure to put up a good fight.
If McCaskill is to win in November, she is going to have to push hard in key counties that she lost in her failed 2004 gubernatorial campaign and that Jason Kander (D) lost in his doomed 2016 senate bid. She will also have to secure key high population areas that traditionally vote Democrat in Missouri. In St. Louis City, St Louis County, and Jackson County she will need to earn 80%, 55%, and 60% respectively in order to stay afloat. However important this urban base is, it is not enough to win outright.
In 2006 she won a number of more rural counties south of St. Louis such as St. Francois, Washington and Iron counties. She also managed to keep above 35% in many of the rural counties she lost. This is in stark contrast to 2004 when she struggled to win any rural counties and dipped into the 20-30% range in the rural counties she lost. Trump’s invigorated base is what doomed Jason Kander’s race in 2016, however, if Josh Hawley is unable to harness Trump’s energy again in 2018 McCaskill may be able to gain just enough support from the smaller counties of Missouri to cobble together a victory.
McCaskill is in a very dangerous spot. She is running in a state where Hillary Clinton only got 38% and is up against a young candidate who has the backing of a President who performed very well in the state. Despite all this, McCaskill is polling marginally better than Josh Hawley, although her lead is so small it’s almost superficial. If McCaskill is able to buckle down in key rural counties and secure her base in urban and Suburban centers, McCaskill will have a good chance of securing her third term and helping the Democratic Party maintain a majority.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) Chance of Victory – 55%
#3. Fmr. Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) V. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), Tennessee*
*(Tennessee primary elections are August 2nd)
Tennessee is a state without an incumbent this election cycle. Last September, when current Senator Bob Corker (R) announced his retirement, the Democratic Party saw a window to potentially flip this state from red to blue. The challenger looking to take the state back into Democratic hands is experienced politician and well-loved Tennessee figure, Phil Bredesen. Bredesen was the Mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999, a position that gave him enough political clout to claim victory in the 2002 and subsequent 2006 elections for Tennessee Governor. Bredesen was able to accomplish all of this by maintaining a moderate stance, as any position too far left would be detrimental in a state as conservative as Tennessee. Despite his moderate stance on most issues, Bredesen has earned endorsements from Joe Biden as well as Sen. Doug Jones, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Bredesen is expected to easily win his primary field on August 2nd, as is his presumptive opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn is a familiar face in Tennessee politics as well. She has been the representative from Tennessee’s 7th district since 2003 and has won all of her elections with over 2/3 of the vote. Despite her success in congressional races, Blackburn has never run for a statewide position before and lacks the high number of statewide political connections that Bredesen has. Despite this, Blackburn’s campaign is being helped along with endorsements from a slew of GOP figures, including outgoing Senator Bob Corker and President Trump. Although Bredesen is a dying breed of blue-dog Democrat, he is the perfect candidate to concoct a winning formula in this deeply red state. He has done it twice before for the Governorship, and, with any luck, he should be able to pull it off again for Senate
Predicting what a statewide Democratic victory looks like in Tennessee is not easy due to its rarity. The only modern examples to go by are Bredesen’s previous statewide victories in 2002 and 2006. Most Democratic candidates running in statewide elections in Tennessee only achieve victory in Davidson County (Nashville) and a smattering of other rural counties, a result which adds up only about 1/3 of the votes statewide. To do better, Bredesen is going to have to replicate the magic that got him elected in 2002.
Bredesen was able to reach a majority of 50.5% by coalescing victories in a number of rural counties in the Northwest and central parts of Tennessee as well as Nashville and its surrounding suburban counties. These victories combined with strong showings of above 40% in most of the counties he lost ensured a win for Bredesen. In order to win again, Bredesen must succeed where other Democrats failed. He must garner widespread support in a coalition of rural counties to stand a chance. The urban and suburban populations are not large enough to secure a victory alone.
Senator Bob Corker’s resignation is dream come true for Tennessee Democrats. The hole left open by Corker has turned this GOP stronghold into an incredibly volatile race. Phil Bredesen has repeatedly polled ahead of Marsha Blackburn and occasionally has been outside the margin of error in said polls. A repeat of Bredesen’s statewide results in 2002 and 2006 may be on the books if he is able to win the hearts of Tennessee’s rural population.
Fmr. Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) Chance of Victory – 65%
#4. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) V. Rep. Martha McSally (R), Arizona*
*(Arizona primary elections held August 28th)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R) made waves he announced his retirement from the Senate after speaking out against President Donald Trump, however, his departure from the Senate may be even more important than his time within it. A tightly contested battle to fill the shoes of Flake’s shoes is playing out in Arizona, with Democratic challenger Rep. Kyrsten Sinema gaining considerable support for her campaign. Sinema has held the AZ-9 district since its creation in 2012 and is not only the first openly bi-sexual member elected to Congress, but is also currently the only openly atheist member of Congress. Sinema is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and frequently compromises between progressive and moderate views when making policy decisions.
Sinema is expected to win her primary by a large margin, however, the same can not be said for her potential opponent Rep. Martha McSally. Although McSally is the favorite in a field of 3 major contestants, conservative firebrand Kelli Ward and contentious former sheriff Joe Arpaio are only polling about 10% behind McSally. McSally also suffers from a lack of inter-party support, failing to yet win an official endorsement from President Trump. On the contrary, Sinema has an endorsement from Joe Biden as well as 15 Democratic Senators. In the face of a very divided Arizonian GOP base, McSally will struggle to hold together a base of energetic voters should she win the GOP primary. Because of the GOP division, Sinema and the Democratic party may have the political upper hand in this key Arizona race.
Arizona county maps for statewide political races often look identical. There is often few races where a particular county will flip from cycle to cycle, meaning that the GOP continues to hold a small advantage in most statewide races. To secure victory, Sinema will have to shore up democratic strongholds as well as perform well enough in GOP territory to flip Republican-leaning counties. Sinema could work to flip either Yuma county or Navajo county, both of which will have around 30k voters and were carried by
Jeff Flake in 2012 with only 50% of the vote in each county.
Sinema could also target Maricopa County (900k voters) or Pinal County (100k voters). Both of these counties were also carried by Flake with less than 52% of the vote in 2012, however, their size and entrenched GOP base may make progress in these counties difficult. Finally, Sinema needs to retain at least 55% in Pima County, by far the largest Democratic stronghold (350K voters). Should she fail to secure this base of Democratic voters, any campaigning in GOP held areas will not be enough to achieve victory.
As GOP infighting continues to damage their front-runner, Kyrsten Sinema is taking charge and looks as though she may just have enough support to flip the seat in favor of the Democratic Party. However, the race is far from over and scientific polling is highlighting the closeness of the race. Sinema is currently is only polling with a 5-8% advantage over McSally, meaning although Sinema holds the advantage, it is by no means comfortable. So long as Sinema can stick to a smart campaign and the GOP remains divided, she has the opportunity to change the status quo of Arizona statewide politics.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) Chance of Victory – 75%
#5. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) V. St. Rep. Mike Braun (R), Indiana
This seat has repeatedly been rated among the most volatile for current Democratic Senators, and in a state that only voted 37% in favor of Hillary Clinton, its no wonder Sen. Joe Donnelly has been put in a precarious position. Donnelly, who has only been serving in the Senate since a 2012 victory, is expected to have a hard time holding onto his seat despite his challenger being a 2 term member of the Indiana state house. Although Joe Donnelly has a much greater wealth of experience than his opponent, he is running in a state that has really bought into the Trump narrative against establishment politicians, putting Donnelly in a position where his experience is actually preventing him from making inroads with certain blocs of voters. Donnelly has gained and maintained popularity in the conservative state of Indiana by being flexible and exemplifying the bipartisanship that red state Democrats must engage in to retain their seats.
Despite his efforts to maintain a base of moderate and left-center supporters, Mike Braun, Donnelly’s opponent, has managed to harness the populist energy that allowed Trump to win Hoosier moderates in 2016. Braun is also receiving national support from former Governor of Indiana and current Vice President, Mike Pence. Donnelly is also currently caught in a dilemma between his past support of protectionist trade policy and the current reality that Trump’s protectionist policies may hurt his constituency. It’s safe to say that there is an uneasiness among Democrats regarding Joe Donnelly’s chances at keeping the seat.
In order to win in November, Joe Donnelly will have to fight to earn widespread support beyond the Democratic sanctuaries of Northwest Indiana and Marion County. One key bellwether county could be Vanderberg county. This Southern county with about 75,000 voters was won by Obama in his 2008 presidential victory in Indiana as well as by Donnelly in his 2012 Senate victory. Other races where Democrats lose statewide have seen key losses in Vandeberg county as well as significantly lower percentages in other Southern counties.
In order to win in November, Donnelly will have to win Vandeberg county and retain between 42-45% of the vote in many of the southern rural counties that he has little chance of winning. Donnelly will also have to perform strongly in Delaware and Madison counties, two counties with over 40,000 voters that saw a heavy GOP swing in 2018. Furthermore, Donnelly will have to get at least 60% in the Marion County, the Democratic stronghold of over 300,000 voters. All of these circumstances and more will have to be met if Donnelly is to avoid a loss like Evan Bayh (D), who suffered a crushing defeat in the 2016 Indiana Senate Race.
Joe Donnelly’s seat is in an incredibly precarious position this November, and the DNC knows it. Money and resources from the coffers of the party have been flowing to Indiana in an attempt to crush the momentum that Mike Braun currently has. Donnelly’s victory in 2012 was an anomaly and many don’t expect his luck to hold up again. Luckily for Donnelly, much of the outlook of this race has been shaped by speculation, as solid polling has yet to be conducted in this key race. Donnelly will have to reverse the momentum that Hoosier Republicans had statewide in 2016 in order to avoid a devastating loss for Senate Democrats.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) Chance of Victory – 35%
This year’s midterms promise to be a very exciting time in politics, and an especially crucial time for Senate Democrats, who are hoping to break the GOP majority. Although these 5 Senate races are the bellwethers for Democratic performance, they are by no means the only races that are close or important. In both traditionally-red North Dakota and politically divided Florida, Democratic incumbents are trying to hold off strong campaigns by popular GOP figures. In Texas, dark horse Rep. Beto O’Rorke (D) has the opportunity to overthrow Republican heavyweight Sen. Ted Cruz (R).
All over the country, Democratic Senators from Montana to West Virginia to New Jersey are attempting to keep the upper hand in volatile races with formidable challengers. No one can doubt the power of the blue wave, however, the geography of this midterm heavily favors the GOP and will make it difficult for the Democrats to take back the Senate majority. The road may be long, but, there may just be enough power in the progressive movement to overcome the difficult situation the Democratic party faces this November.
Chances that Democratic Party Becomes the Majority Party Following the Midterms – 20%
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